WSBK: Alvaro Bautista Snatches Victory From Toprak in Race One at Estoril.
Alvaro Bautista takes his fourth win of the season to extend his championship lead in a great battle with Toprak Razgatlioglu
Jonathan Rea started from his first pole position of the season with title challengers Toprak Razgatlioglu and Alvaro Bautista alongside him. Scott Redding had his best session of the season in Superpole and started from fourth on the grid and looked to try and hold onto the back of the front three. The weather in the middle of hot and cold, making tyre choices a difficult decision for the riders.
The lights went out and it was Toprak who took the holeshot into turn one, Bautista out-braked himself and dropped to fourth behind Andrea Locatelli, with Rea in second. Alex Lowes was fifth with Redding in sixth.
Bautista was losing time behind Locatelli and was in desperate need to move into third. Onto lap three Rea pulled alongside Toprak, but the Turkish rider was too strong on the brakes. Into turn six Toprak went slightly wide, Rea looked to go up the inside, but misjudged it a bit and hit the back of the R1 Yamaha and lost a lot of time, but remained in second place.
On lap five Bautista blasted past Locatelli down the main straight and had quite a big gap to close on Rea. Rea was closing down on the World Champion and Toprak made a mistake into turn three and ran very wide allowing Rea to move into the lead.
Rea was pushing hard on the front, running wide at turn six and Toprak was closing back in on the Kawasaki. Toprak pulled alongside and moved into the lead of the race on lap eight. Both of them were riding on the limit with Bautista just unable to match the pace.
Rea fought back the next lap on the straight, but Toprak once again was stronger on the brake and was able to hold onto the lead. On lap ten Rea managed to pull a block pass on Toprak to regain the lead once again; all this fighting meant Bautista was closing and was down to 1.7 seconds.
Toprak on the following lap retook the lead, constant changing of the lead at turn one lap after the lap. Rea again moved into the lead with a block pass, and Bautista was catching up by over 0.3 seconds a lap and had to down to one second.
With seven laps to go Bautista was 0.4 behind Rea and was in the fight for the win, Rea out-braked himself at turn one and ran wide allowing Bautista to move into second place, could he catch Toprak?
The two Honda’s managed to find their way through on Redding to move up into fifth and sixth. Rea with a headshake down the straight with four laps to go, had his choice of the SC0 been a mistake?
With two laps to go Bautista pulled ahead of Toprak, but Toprak went as late as he dared on the brakes and retook the lead at turn one.
Onto the final lap Bautista was able to get passed Toprak on the entry to turn one, Toprak pushing the front of the PATA Yamaha through the first two sectors, but Bautista was holding on to the back of him. Toprak was able to pull a small gap out of the chicane as he came into the final corner, it looked to be Toprak’s first victory of the season, but Bautista used the power of the Aruba.it Ducati to pull alongside and take the win off Toprak.
Jonathan Rea was third with Locatelli in fourth, Xavi Vierge rounded out the top five with his team-mate Iker Lecuona in sixth. Alex Lowes was able to pass Redding in the closing laps to finish in seventh. Michael Ruben Rinaldi was ninth and Loris Baz finished the top independent in tenth.
Bautista now leads the championship by 27 points ahead of Rea with Toprak 50 points behind the championship leader.
Featured Image: WorldSBK.com